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Colloquium with Inger N. I. Kuin

Event Type
Classics Department
Lucy Ellis
Sep 8, 2023   2:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
Department of the Classics

Diogenes the Cynic on Slavery

In the first book of Politics Aristotle engages closely with critics of slavery but does

not give their names. Scholars have made several suggestions as to who the anonymous critics

might have been, but for these authors only very short fragments have been transmitted, which

are notoriously difficult to interpret. Might it be possible that Aristotle also (or instead) had his

contemporary Diogenes the Cynic in mind? In my talk I will reconsider the evidence for

Diogenes’ own enslavement and the sayings attributed to him regarding slavery. I will argue that

1) Diogenes was in dialogue with Aristotle and others on the issue, 2) his contemporaries and

later followers viewed him as a critic of slavery, and, 3) Cynic thought constitutes an important

strand in the history of ancient criticism of slavery, more so than scholars have generally


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